Days later Link rockets out of his last class for the day. Despite sitting in the middle of the room he is the first one out the door. It doesn’t take people long to figure out that any other place is better than to be in Link’s way. He’s plans his routs with the same sort of precision that a life long serial killer would use. While on his way to his car he spots his victem, the hippy girl. He made a resolution to learn her name before to much more time went by. The whole not knowing thing is getting a little silly at this point. She sees him stalking up from quite far away, which isn’t suprising he is nearly impossible to miss. At all times he looks about as out of place as a black man wearing a KKK outfit. Stalking across the campus with a firece amount of determination he is a basition of focused action in a sea of meandering listlessness. It is amazing how feel people actually look like where ever they are going is actually important. There he is though, as quiet as a breeze with all the intensity of a stampede. She stands up, gathering her things together quickly, a stride like that means that she is not the desitination but that her company is either necessary or desired. That and they still have so much to talk about. About her ex-girlfriend, about where he went, and about who Sara really is to him. He doesn’t slow down instead he shouts, “Come on walk and talk we got a lot of ground to cover, and I don’t think this will work after nightfall which only gives us less than three hours”
She falls in line with him hurrying to keep up, “Why what happens in three hours?”
“The sun goes down, I predict that the Lady in White will be much harder to find if there is no sun. It Is just one of those things”. There is something in the way he talks, where even if the things he says don’t make sense, they most certainly sound like they do. The lady in white will be hard to find at night, of course.
“Why are we looking for her?”
“That night in the garden. The last thing I remember is the bird being shot. I’ve been thinking about that” They were at his car now. It seemed to be held together with yarn, glue, and the absolute fear that Link will go ballistic should it dare to fall apart, “The doesn’t even lock, anyway, something happened between the bird and the room. I know this because Sara made that place the white room, I’d never willingly go back there. Alex helped me make it, someday when he stops being pissed at me I’ll introduce him to you”
The hippy a bit bewildered asks, “Why is he so mad at you?”
Link looks a little bit embarrassed for a bit, “Well see Alex, is crazy, or so I thought. He’s got multiple personalities and he tends to hang around and talk to himself”
Sara nods, “Oh I think I’ve seen him powling campus late at night, he has a think for this bright blue bathrobe?”
“Yeah that’s him, Alex is usually to busy with himself to notice what he’s wearing when he leaves the house. Anyway, it isn’t so much that we were friends, but rather that we were damanaged people sharing space near each other. We’d talk from time to time, but for the most part we were busy with our own things. Anyway, one day Sara sees us talking together and the next thing I know he’s drug in. We have some scrapes together, some of them end up being really close, but we pulled through. Anyway, one day Sara gets pissed off at him and possesses him with a demon”
The hippy blinks with surprise, “Wait, what! How do you do something like that?”
Link shrugs, “Who knows vigin’s blood, lip stick., and some rituals or something like that, I don’t know as it was happening I had a lot of other concerns I needed to be dealing with. Like mostly containing Alex so he doesn’t hurt anyone. I succeeded at that for about a day before he escaped. Two weeks later I found him under a bridge, naked, half starved. The hobos in the area were afraid to touch him, but when I found him he seemed relived. He said something like, ‘thank god, go find me some cloths and bring me home’. It was only much later that I found out that one of her personalities sacrified itself, when the demon ate it, it changed the demon somehow making it both more than what it is and less. I don’t know Alex is hard to understand sometimes and his internal landscape is something I don’t really want to know to much about. Anyway since then he’s been pretty pissed at me. Poor guy had enough problems with his like then all the sudden Sara swoops in and he ends up demon possessed.”
Sara nods slowly, “I don’t know I just, it”
Link pats her on the head awkwardly, which is one of the very few times he tries to show affection, “Yeah look you are a part of this too. Sorry about you, your garden, your girlfriend. All of it is my fault you know, I hope you understand that,”
“Well I don’t know I mean I’ve had some things happen to me too, but”
Link laughs, “Nothing like getting one of your friends demon possessed”
The hippy, looking thoughtful asks, “Hey do you think that is what happened to my girlfriend, you think Sara put something inside of her to make that happen to her?”
Link nods, it has become one of those conversations. Pulling into a parking lot of a gas station Link gives her the universal, “no you wait right here” sign and heads off. He comes back later with two slushies and beings filling his car with gas. They don’t talk for a moment, drinking their slushies, looking around Link finds what he needs. When he gets back in the car they don’t drive long, soon they find an abandoned parking lot and he pulls in, turns off the car, and turns to the hippy, “I don’t know. Is she demon possed”?
He looks at her with his deep piecing gaze that seems to freeze time, so that it can crack open realizy, allowing him to skip all the interviening bullshit and talk straight at someone’s soul, “No, she isn’t is she?”
Link shrugs, “I met her once, and I know you were really into her and all but she is a massive cunt. I mean all the shit that’s happened to me, every fight I’ve been in, every punch I’ve absorbed, every knife I’ve taken, hell I’ve even been shot once, an yet no one has fucked with my face until her. Sara wasn’t even egging her on or anything she just did that shit for the fun of it”
The hippy nods and fails at trying to hide that she is about to cry, “I, I know, I’m sorry. I knoew there was that part of her, I knew it all along. I could feel it inside of her when we kissed. I, I just hopped that it was me being crazy or something, she was so nice to me, and I don’t know ever since that night I’ve been going over that so many things in my head over and over again, I just wished, hoped for one minut, one minut that I was crazy you know and that Sara did something to her to make her like that, something we could fix” the damn bursts, the remains of her Icey hit’s the floor and there she is, in Link’s arms, awkwardly hugging him over the center concol thing.
He expects her to cry, to flood his car with her tears all the whle cursing their abscent god or something like that. It doesn’t happen though. She just holds him tightly. Hands digging into him painfully. After about five minuts she recomposes herself, “Sorry but I don’t want to cry any more tears for her. I also don’t want to cry anymore tears as a result of her. That is why I was with her the other day, in case you were wondering, after, I… you know I saw you doing your thing.”
“Right my, thing”
Link looks nervouse, he supposes it is either now or never, and he is about to come clean on the whole thing when she suddenly goes on, “But I realize now that she doesn’t create. She just takes what’s already there and enhances it. Maybe she turns it to what it truly is, I don’t know. I do know that my ex isn’t now something different, she was always like that, now she just has had all the bullshit scrapped off of her”
Seeing his chance Link verbally leaps, “Yeah look about that there is some-”
“She’s behind the car”
Link usually a highly mentally flexible person can only say, “The fuck?” but the rearview mirror explains everything. There like a great sail, standing in the dusk, in straight defiance of the night, there stands the Lady in White, twice as large as life, looking around on the ground for, something. Link pops the trunk and scrambles out of the car, donning a pair of white gloves he pulls from one of his pockets, he grabs a long white box from the trunk. He hadn’t notice but along with the night the wind had picked up blowing wind and miscellaneous debries all over the place. It’s a strange wind that seems to be intent on carrying away secrets and bring bringing with it the cold. Wind is strange like that, its good that he found her. As he appoches he she turns to face him, she doesn’t appear to be the least bit surprised by anything. A few strands of plantiunm blonde hair escape from under her hat and make a desperate, but failed, bid for freedom. Link smiles, “I know I probably frighten you. I understand why now. I went some place I shouldn’t of, and found things there that shouldn’t be there didn’t I?” She nods slowly, “I don’t know about anything that happened to me while I was there or how I got there. I’m sorry. Did I put the things there?”. She shakes her head no, and begins to look slightly defensive, “Did Sara? Okay okay you don’t know who Sara is I get it, how about the golden lady from the bar?” The lady and white stands ram rod straight and fixes him with a powerful glare, “Look okay the mute thing? Not the best way to convay information. Had you just said, oh and avoid the lady in gold she’s not so cool don’t go all glary at me”
She looks past Link to the car where the hippy has just gotten out. Then she looks back at Link. Link nods, “Alright fine I probably shouldn’t of even fucking gone to the bar, I get it is a place for people like me and wolf boy. The day light is fading fast though and I am certain that means you have somewhere to go. So again did the golden lady do it, if not her did you”. Again she nods no, then pauses, and nods no again and gives him a “you dumbass look”.
Link rolls his eyes, “Alright fine, well I don’t like them being around do you think you can help me fix them someday?”. The lady in white thinks for a moment then she nods slowly. He some how gets the feeling from her that it will be dangerous though, “I’m not safe with them inside of me, am I?”. She looks sad for a moment, like a woman who is seeing the ten thousandth casualty from a very long war and who has felt the pain of each and every one of them. “The thing in the woods I should of known. Anyway thank you very much. Umm I made this for you, I would of given it to you even if you decided to be unhelpful. Its just that things like this don’t excist, not to your standards at least, so, well anyway I hope you like it” He thrusts the box at her and turns around quickly heading back to the car. He hears her open in, and the fwampawoosh sound it makes as it opens. Just before he gets back into the car he hears her clap her hands twice, looking back he can see the smile in her eyes as she gives him the thumbs up sign. He waves, gets back in the car, and they drive away.
“An umbrella” the hippy asks confused by the whole thing.
Link nods, “yeah well you know the weather is changing and it will start doing thous day long rain marathon things, that and I mean it rains all summer so it’s something everyone should have. Oh don’t look so confused. Look at her, white surgical mask, white gloves, white hair, all white clothing, she even has white buttons on her jacket, she doesn’t like touching or holding non white things. Even if she were to find a white umbrella there would be all that metal, the handle would be black, or it would be a cheap flimsy piece of shit. This umbrella is bad ass, it is made to withstand winds of up to 50 miles an hour, I’m not sure why though if the wind is blowing that hard the rain will soak you anyway but what ever. It is big enough to cover her adequately, and I painted, then weather sealed all the metal on it with white paint. I took quite awhile to get everything together, but it seems like something she’ll need. Oh I also reinforced the crap out of the tip so she can also use it as a handy cane, since you know she walks everywhere and all”.
The hippy sits more than a little stunned, “It’s just unexpected I guess, she seemed to irritate you so thoroughly the first time the two of you me”
“Yeah that totally happened didn’t it, man it feels like it was years ago now doesn’t it? How could I forget her though, that was our first outing together?” The hippy reddened, “Oh don’t be getting all embarrassed, I don’t think of you like that, besides I have certain sexual needs that I would never ask you to gratify. We are just friends, that’s all”.
She laughs, giggles almost, “I don’t know it’s strange. I’ve nearly seen you kill people, I’ve nearly seen you killed, and I thought I saw you killing yourself. You are a vortex of death, pain and violence. So it’s just funny picturing you sitting around making something like that for a crazy lady who has done nonthing but annoy you or lead you into trouble”.
“Look, stop. We need to talk. Sara did her thing. She lied to you.”
She narrows her eyes slightly and looks over Link, the red scar on his face stands out in the fading light, and some day it will pucker up and become white, like all the other ones that crisscross his body. After what happened to him that night she hopped that the rest of them just appeared like the ones on his chest did, “Your scars are all self inflicted aren’t they?”
“I, um what no, damnit okay so she lies to you a lot and we will have time to hammer out the truth to you later, all the truth. This one thing though, that has nothing to do with the fucking scars is something you need to know. But to put your mind at rest no they are not self inflicted. Sara did put most of them on there, and she is responciple for most of them being there, so well you know. Anyway it has nothing to do with what I want to tell you. So please just listen”. The hippy nods silently. Link takes a deep breath and goes on, “Look what you saw that morning isn’t a celebration in the remeberance of some killed who killed himself. Though that kid is real and worth remembering. No, it is something I do every morning, it is something I’ve done every morning, since about the 8th grade”.
He stopped to let the words sink in, and they were sinking in alright, her tiny hands balled into fists, a fury is growing under the surface like a mighty storm cloud, billowing up twords the jet stream like a maze of puffy nightmares, then faster than Link’s eye could follow she slams her fist into his jaw. Stunned at how hard she can punch he struggles to maintain control of the car. Once they are back on their side of the road she icily bids him to continue.
“Right then so, that’s really all there is to it. Except that, after you saw me I knew people would becoming to check the room so I hid the gun. Then I lied to housing people. It was a good lie too, spontaneous, natural, beautiful. Man that lie just flowed from my lips like a summer breeze. I don’t normally lie, I usually just tell it straight up. I mean why not, I play Russian roulett every morning there is a one in six chance I won’t have to deal with any of it tomarrow. So I do my best to get it all done in one day. So I tell people the truth. When I lied to those people it made me believe that I was choosing life. I now know that isn’t true, instead I was picking not hurting you, because I fear that worse than death. Which sounds dramatic, but I really don’t fear death at all.” Throughout the monolouge she sits there silent, resolute, like a statue version of herself. She stares straight a head and only seems to be dimly aware of the fact that he stopped talking. After a bit he continues, “Anyway when I heard Sara lie to you, to preserve the peace to us I knew that I had to come clean to you. She believes that the two of us will naturally fall apart without any help from her, that she is redundant. I will destroy my friendship with you all on my own. You know what? She might be right about that. It’s kinda hard to deny it. But at least should I do it, it will be because I’ve always told you the truth.”
She nods slowly, “Keep driving I need time to think”. He complys silently. Turning off from the main road he gets onto a long winding country road which pretty much leads to nowhere. They drive along for nearly an hour before she says, “What about the umbrella?”
“I leave a note that is constantly updated, there was specific instructions as to what to do with the umbrella and who to give it to. I figured someone would carry out my last request, if not you then Sara would of made cowboy do it”
She nods and goes back to thinking, another hour passes in scilence. Just the howling, rain bringing wind, ripping through the trees, the hum of the car, and their quiet steady breathing, “You been doing this the whole time I knew you?”
“No actually. When the summer started I decided to turn over a new leaf. I didn’t do it the whole summer, right up until the end when-”
“When I left you?”
“No actually it was when Sara showed up at orientation, promising me that she would never leave me alone, never let me rest, that this stupid bullshit would never end, so that’s when I picked up the gun again. It was a great thing you were gone, I didn’t want Sara hurting you, but that happened anyway. Sorry.”
More time passes, she’s still deep in though, almost as if she is trying to work things out, “I don’t get it, why don’t you just do it? Why do you care so much about the things around you if you think you may not be around in the next weeks or months. Why did you think I’d just replant the garden in the spring? And all of the other things you do?”
Link shrugs, “Woah, well first the Russian roulette thing was originally supposed to be a back hand to my parents. They were so distant and uncaring that they didn’t know that I snuck a gun into the house, and ritualistically pull the trigger every morning. I care because I care. This might be my last day on earth after all, so I love the ones I love, I take care of the people I care for, and I hate the people I hate with all my might because tomarrow really might not come for me and I don’t want to have not lived the life you know what I mean?”
“Are you going to keep doing it?”
This time it is Link’s turn to stop and think. Is he? Sara seems to be actually concerned with school now, which makes sense he supposes, it’s the only way she can stay up here at the moment. Their major battles haven’t been to bad and it almost seems like they’ve reached a truce, albeit an uneasy one. Most of all though, it doesn’t seem right anymore, like there is more that he could be doing with life than living from one day to the next. All this time he knew it is nothing more than a crutch which he uses because he can’t handle every day life, and yet here he is, handling every day life. Not like a pro per say but he’s doing alright. It isn’t that he has the hippy now. He knows that all things in life are transitory and that she will leave him or he will leave her, probably sooner than later, “You know what? No I don’t think I will. Not because of you though. Don’t think that. It is more that the time of the gun has passed. Much like the whole violence thing I do. Like not fighting the cowboy. I could of easily of just layed him out but really? At the end of the day, it felt good not kicking the crap out of him.”
“Oh yeah well what about ‘the wolf looking mother fucker’ as you like to call him”
Link sighs “Look I know you don’t agree with all this shit and everything, but fuck that guy. That guy is someone who’s jaw I will happily break. There are just some people who want nothing more than to see this world burn, your ideals don’t work on them”
Defiantly, “Well I don’t belive that”
Link smiles, “Well you have until you leave me to figure it out. Anyway, I am starving. Lets say we head back to town and get a bit to eat.”
“No. Drive a little bit further down the road first there is something that needs to be done”
Link nods, “Say are you from around here by any chance? I never did get the opportunity to ask you”
“Nope I was born and raised in Idaho, I came to this school purely by chance”. Around the next bend in the road is the bar. Looking as ramshackle as ever it stands upon a nest of dark secrets that makes this whole area seethe with a sort of unholy energy. When he pulls into the parking lot she hops out of the car, when Link goes to follow her he gets an icy, “Wait here”.
Link nods and get just gets out to streach his legs. She disappears inside for 15 mintus then comes back out, walking calmly, alone. As she approches, she nods, “I got everything I wanted lets go back to campus”
He nods and they drive back. He doesn’t ask her about the inside of the bar, and she doesn’t offer up any information. After awhile they begin talking of other things like gardening, birds, the past, and the future. They laugh, off at the night which fails to look foreboding, for they will both live to see the dawn of another day